The Edmond Sun

May 21, 2013

AG issues charity fraud and schemes alert


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Tuesday issued a warning for Oklahomans and donors around the country to beware of charity fraud and scams following the severe storms in Oklahoma.

“For those folks around the country who want to donate funds to help families in Oklahoma, please be alert and only donate to reputable relief charities such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. The first scam we typically see after devastation like this is charity fraud,” Pruitt said. “We have more than 30 investigators in the field to help Oklahomans avoid scams, fraud and price gouging as communities work to recover and rebuild.”

AG investigators ask that anyone who suspects charity fraud or experiences price gouging at gas stations, grocery stores, rental car companies or hotels to please call the AG’s hotline number immediately at 405-521-2029.

Over the next few weeks, criminals will shift focus to scams involving clean-up, removal, home repair and tree trimming.

“We ask that residents pay particular attention to criminals known as ‘travelers’ who go from one community to the next to take advantage of vulnerable Oklahomans,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt cautioned Oklahomans to be wary of repair services and contractors who:

• Offer discounts for finding other customers;

• Just happen to have materials left over from a previous job;

• Accept only cash payments;

• Pressure you for an immediate decision;

• Ask you to pay for the entire job up-front.

For more tips and resources, go online to www.oag.ok.gov/oagweb.nsf/Consumer.